A Culturally Inclusive Classroom
A culturally inclusive classroom creates an environment where staff and students appreciate and accommodate diversity thus creating a positive learning experience for everyone. Schools comprise of individuals from different ethnicities, religions, social and economic status, sexual orientations and political views. These are the factors that account for hard lives experienced by most international students whenever they are judged for who they are. Appreciating and capitalizing diversity is the best way to ensure students and staff develop personal contacts and intercultural skills that enhance an effective learning environment.
To create inclusive communities, both students and staff should develop qualities that allow individuals to freely express themselves and practice their cultural values without interference. One of these qualities is being tolerant. This is being able to put up with what one does not like about the other. This way, any disrespectful behaviors will be avoided, and everyone will experience a positive appreciation of their cultural values. Strong relationships are created from this genuine acknowledgment.
Another quality is being positive. Positivity enables one to approach every aspect of life expecting a good outcome, and this will enable students to easily build relationships and get along with each other. There have been cases of loneliness and depression among international students whenever they feel out of place or realize they do not fit. If such students can encounter people who only want the best for them, they will be more confident to connect, eventually realizing good personal contacts. Most importantly, all people within the school environment should be quick in responding to issues like discrimination and bullying. No support should be given to any offensive behavior towards a student, but instead, individuals will be moulded to being human rights activists.
Concepts that can be used for a culturally inclusive community include establishing a system where students and staff can share information about their cultures (Tomlinson 112). This process allows engagement in positive interaction with each other. Another concept is using appropriate modes when addressing each other. For example, referring to students by their names, pronouncing each other’s names correctly and avoiding using their last names.
Also, the introduction of a self-development checklist can help teaching staff, and student reflect on their own attitudes and examine if they promote a culturally inclusive classroom. When attitudes are monitored, factors like biases and wrong assumption can be controlled or completely avoided and cultural diversity can be understood in a reflective way.
As a teacher, I think I can develop a culturally inclusive classroom by first building a good relationship with my students to enable us to be free to share ideas and issues. I can achieve this by acting more like a facilitator than an instructor. Students in an authoritarian classroom can interpret the environment as a form of social injustice. Closing the power gap is one strategy of creating a friendly and enabling environment. I can also incorporate reciprocal learning where I let my students take charge of groups and discussions from which I can observe their style of leadership. I would then learn from them practically how they would want to be led and incorporate their style in my teaching style as this will make them more comfortable and active in class. Finally, I would ensure my students adopt reflective learning. I would ask them time after time to think of their performance and how they maintain high-performance expectation. I would encourage them to reflect on their learning experiences by first praising them in the proportion of their achievement and then asking them to identify their weaknesses like the tendency for submitting uncompleted work. I believe this way I can create a friendly environment where my students can think of their weaknesses and how to change them.
A culturally inclusive classroom acknowledges and upholds the importance of promoting cultural awareness. It fosters positive feelings of group identity which provides a worthwhile experience in a classroom. If all cultures are accepted and accommodated in all the international institution, students will find it favourable studying and will not be hindered from achieving their dreams.
Tomlinson, Carol Ann. The Differentiated Classroom: Responding to the Needs of all Learners. Ascd, 2014.